Sunday, November 30, 2008
Isn’t it odd that Christmas emerges in the stores before the turkey leftovers are consumed. This year it seemed to me that merchants have been displaying Christmas merchandise for more than a month already. If you ask me, the reasons for many of our holidays has disappeared, giving way to holiday frenzy.
What has happened to our holidays that we think we have to spend them in retail stores? Used to be, a day off meant lying around the house, playing games, baking brownies or taking a walk in the woods. Holidays meant reconnecting with one’s family, not so much anymore. Oh, I got to share a wonderful turkey dinner with friends and I know lots of people did, and I realize what a crush the cook endured to gather the ingredients because the stores were mobbed by holiday shoppers. I see one man was crushed to death by a mob of frenzied shoppers on Black Friday. What a shame!
For me, Christmas is a sad time, but I try to leaven that depression by doing things for others. Each year in late autumn, I make some wreaths for a medical adult day care center. The money the wreaths earn provide days of care for clients who might not have the resources to pay for services. The wreaths are sold by silent auction and the whole town turns out for the fun on gala night.
I have also mobilized the writers and artists I know to gather gifts for the clients at the facility. We will take the gifts over to the center and sing carols with the clients on Dec. 23. Stuff like that helps me remember what Christmas is all about.
I am not telling you all of this because I want credit for my good deeds. I gather the gifts and make the wreaths because I want to help. I could have gone to the Lutheran Mission or maybe to the Salvation Army and packed up food for the needy. I could have donated toys to the Marines for kids whose parents can’t afford to provide anything more than the necessities for their offspring. There is always something to do for those less fortunate.
I think Christ might like these gifts of time more than the ones we fight the crowds to purchase every Christmas fad. I know in my heart JC didn’t suffer so retailers could prosper. That doesn’t make any sense at all.
Well, there’s my December soapbox. I hope I don’t offend. I also hope you find a way to do something extra for those less fortunate. It will make both parties involved feel better.
Keep on the sunny side. Terry
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
I am not going shopping today. Oh, that doesn't mean I am not going to give gifts during the holiday season, it just means that I don't plan to go out and join the madness. The thought of fighting my way through hoards of shoppers to buy things I can't afford for people I don't love is beyond my ken.
Besides, I have work to do. More than 50 years ago I set out to write the Great American Novel. I have written about 15 of them (Like the old woman who lived in the shoe, I can't name them all offhand ...) but you can check them out at http://www.writewordsinc.com/. My books are also available at Amazon.com and local bookstores if you can figure out the search engine.
Sometimes I wonder why I haven't made it to the big time. I had the requisite miserable childhood. I endured abusive relationships and worked my way through college by slinging hash at a truckstop and playing bass in a bluegrass band. I survived Appalachain as a kid and winters in the Adirondacks when no one had any work in the winter. Man! Do I have stories to tell.
Today I am still a starving artist, and I sometimes find that puzzling, although I have done my best to honor the dream. I guess that is the point. I still have a dream, and I still work every day to write one more page. There is always a next book - although I always wonder if I can do it again when I set those first words down in a new story.
The books give me reason to get up in the morning. They keep my mind sharp as I make sure I put in all the necessary words and leave out all the extra words. The stories keep me at my desk every day in order to find out what is going to happen next. I have friends who languish in the depths of depression, and I can't imagine not getting up and getting busy each day. I feel sorry for people who don't have a dream.
Maybe someday I will wake up and see that all the work means something, but at this point, I don't necessarily mean fame and fortune. Not everyone gets that hat. I have a good house and pretty much all the necessary things for a good life. Being rich wouldn't drag me out to shop on Black Friday. Heaven forbid.
After all, if I run out of money for gifts, I can always pass out books on Christmas morning! Keep on the sunny side and have a truly blessed day,
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tomorrow will be a big day for most of us. We will likely share a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings and the guys will watch football while the ladies wash dishes and chat in another room, and plan their shopping for Black Friday.
Why is it called Black Friday? I am not sure, but I think it is to remind us all of the stock market crash back in the 20s. Uh. Do we want to go there given America’s financial pickle? Better not.
I understand Congress has designated the day after Thanksgiving as Native American Day. I think that is interesting, but since I have a Native American heritage, not at all that flattering. Who wants to celebrate an earth-based holiday on the most commercial day of the year? Who thought up that big idea anyway?
Think about it. There wouldn’t even be a day of thanksgiving – or a country if it had not been for the Native Americans who helped their visitors from Europe how to survive in the forests and shores of what evolved to be the United States of America.
I am thankful for my ancestors, both the ones who sailed here to find a new way of life, and to the ones who met the boats. I don’t think my native ancestors would be all that tickled with the way things turned out. Somewhere along the line, the ideal of living without persecution and being able to worship as one pleased got turned around. My native ancestors were persecuted and massacred, scalped for bounties and pushed onto ever more worthless pieces of real estate. In some places, native people were even enslaved.
Where is the gratitude in that? My native ancestors taught my white ancestors how to build shelters and plant food. My white ancestors took their land, their freedom and their right to worship as they pleased. What, I ask, makes some people more entitled than any others? Can someone explain that to me?
The Native Americans were not the only individuals who suffered as this country evolved. Other ethnic minorities were used harshly and enslaved. Some of them celebrate their evolution with as long as a month of commemoration while the Native Americans get to share one day with a commercial spend-feast. Ugh!
Today’s image is a Dawn Tarr creation that she painted for the cover of my newest novel, Chesapeake Legacy, which will be in print by Write Words, Inc. this winter. The novel deals with prejudice, and tells the story of a woman who was not allowed to live among the European residents because she had native blood. She gets pushed around a lot. Life is like that. Sound familiar?
I hope all of you remember the role Native Americans played in the birth of this nation. They were there for us, and it would be nice if we could be there for them at last.
Have a blessed day,
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
When I was a kid, we lived in a house with no plumbing, and no central heat. I don’t remember being unhappy because it was what it was. I did wish to be warm a lot. Today, I have a beautiful home, but I can’t say as I am always warm. Fuel is still expensive, but I wear lots of layers and am pretty comfortable all the time. I wonder how warm the lean-tos and cabins the Pilgrims lived in were. No wonder the ladies wore those long skirts and shawls. Talk about tough. They must have had a big lot of faith to endure those times.
When I was a youngster, we walked. We walked to school. We walked to the store. We walked to church. When we were on vacation, we walked to and in the woods, and we walked to visit all the old ladies who lived on the surrounding farms. A car trip was an occasion. Today I have arthritis and can’t walk far. Maybe I should have been more thankful when I was a kid.
When I was a kid, I wore hand-me-downs from an aunt who worked. I was a big kid in high school and that arrangement worked, although I was sometimes less than grateful because I wanted the same sorts of skirts and blouses the other girls in my class wore. Today I happily shop at the local thrift shops, and couldn’t care less what the crowd is wearing so long as I am covered and warm.
We feasted on holidays when I was a kid, living on a farm provided all sorts of foods that seem like luxuries when one has to purchase them in today’s supermarkets. I guess I should have been more grateful back then, because preparing for a holiday is serious business for people on a fixed income.
When I was a child, I wrote my stories on a tablet of lined paper with a always diminishing yellow pencil. Today I use a computer that highlights my mistakes and sends the stories off to my publisher Write Words Inc. at the speed of light. Whodathunk it!
I am grateful and happy for what I have today. I wish that little girl in hand-me-downs could see all I have today. I bet she would be amazed at the harvest I have gathered in my life. I am grateful for the rich variety life has given me, and I am thankful for all of my happy harvest.
Keep on the sunny side,
PS: I forgot to say I have published more than a dozen books. I am very grateful that particular dream came true.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I just got back from a couple of days spent with a friend in Delaware. Had a great time, and got home to the same disorder I left. Hmmmm.... well, yes, the den was being painted, and it is still being painted, but is a little further along than it was when I left.
I will tell you something. I decided a while back not to let things get me down, so I laugh about the disorder and realize it is an opportunity to sort out things that are no longer useful in my life. Yes, I am a packrat. I keep everything, whether I need it or not, and whether it means anything to me today.
Don't get me wrong, I love and appreciate things people give me, but I have come to the realization that the things people give me are not the love they express. If I lost the whole house, God forbid!, I would still remember and love the people who enhanced my life.
Maxine has the right idea. Don't let stuff get you down.
On that note, I am going to stop hanging out here on the Internet and try to get up and get some of this stuff sorted out and decide what I really need to keep.
Thanks for stopping by. Terry
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I liked writing the news, it was both inspiring and educational to sit in city and county work meetings and to learn how government really works; but my real love was doing the 'good news' - features about the exceptional people who lived quietly and did remarkable things.
One of these remarkable people was Miss Nora Foxwell of Elliotts Island here in Maryland. In order to reach the island one must travel to the little town of Vienna (which missed being the state capital by a cat's whisker) and turn right for a 20-mile treck through the forests and marshlands of Dorchester County. Twenty miles is a right good way to travel to buy a quart of milk or loaf of bread, but Miss Nora kept those things and more at her little island store and the island's residents had the supplies they needed.
The photo today was taken when Miss Nora was 97 years old! The remarkable thing is that she was still keeping store when I made this portrait. We had a good long visit as I sat with my tape recorder running and my camera at the ready. Miss Nora talked about her youth, going to school on the island, her marriage, the changes she had seen, and the little store, which was the cornerstone of her life. When she began to declaim a poem learned years before for my enjoyment, her face lit up and I could see the same sort of bliss as often occurs on the face of a child with an all day sucker.
I was really lucky to capture this image because Miss Nora didn't live out the next winter. I was really glad I met her. She taught me something about enjoying life and being useful. I want to be just like her when I grow up!
Keep on the sunny side! Terry
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Today I will take time out to visit the Never on Tuesday bookstore here in Cambridge to launch my new novel, Chesapeake Harvest.
Chesapeake Harvest is about my 15th book, I am a bit like the old woman who lived in a shoe... by now I can hardly remember all their names after 40 years of writing. At any rate, Chesapeake Harvest is the first of a series set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland from the earliest colony times. The women in the series are survivors, women who wait for love, and take up the reins of life to make their survival a reality.
Mary Charles is the heroine of Chesapeake Harvest. She starts off gentry and slides down the social ladder to end up in a London jail. The next thing she knows, the universe steps in and she is on a ship bound for the New World. Undaunted, she faces up to her indenture and learns how to survive on the mosquito and disease ridden coast despite all obstacles in her way.
Mary's descendents follow the family in the following stories, Chesapeake Legacy and Chesapeake Destiny. If you like a series, I hope you will check my stories out at Amazon.com and www.ebooksonthe.net.
Many thanks go out to artist Dawn M. Tarr for the series covers! I love the pulp fiction look and the pensive characters who seem to know all the secrets of life and love. Find more of Dawn's work at www.dawntarr.com.
Oh yes, I am working with Nikki Leigh to promote her authors on tour blog at http://firstname.lastname@example.org. Check it out!
Keep on the sunny side, Terry
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
America made history last night with the election of Barak Obama to the office of the President of the United States of America. Congratulations to all the candidates, who show us that the American dream is still functioning in the land of the free.
Today's photo is a view of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge, near my home in Cambridge, is the home of at least 60 pairs of nesting eagles. I have visited the refuge many times, and I will tell you there is nothing quite like walking the nature path and spotting an eagle as it soars overhead. This is a great comeback for the raptors, symbol of the freedom that make our land great. For those of you interested in eagles, here is the url for a web cam that you can use to watch these huge birds as they raise their chicks starting next winter. I am told they hatch their eggs sometime in February! Not only are they beautiful to watch, but hardy as well. Check out the eagle cam at: http://www.friendsofblackwater.org/camhtm2.html
Today promises to be a busy day, and I hope all my friends have a good one. See you tomorrow! Terry
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
I was surfing around yesterday and I found one of my books on a British site. Ancient Memories was listed with five stars and I was excited to think that my work is wandering around the globe with not a great deal of effort from me -- although I know my publisher at ebooksonthe.net is responsible for any success I may ever find in the writing business.
Ancient Memories was the first one of my novels to be in print and I love the story -- which is really several stories about twin souls who find each other through life after life. I always felt reincarnation is the real meaning of everlasting life and I truly believe this is the soul's path for each of us -- especially as many of these friendly souls have shown up in my life during good and difficult times.
At any rate, I felt compelled to write this tale and I hope that my readers find comfort in the thought that we get to come back and work through the disappointments and mistakes from other lifetimes.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I woke up thinking about my writing, my life's work actually. I have made my life around the stories, but I simply make room for the lives that come through me. I love my characters, and somehow I know each of them intimately. I wonder if other writers have this feeling, or if I am somehow connected to the infinite.
When I consider the latter, it seems to me that writing is a very spiritual occupation since it requires a very close observation of life and philosophy. Taking that thought further, I ask: "Is this my life and philosophy that finds its way into the story?" It seems to me that there are far finer souls in these stories than I.
I cannot say the right or wrong of this, only that I am compelled to do the work and send it out into the world.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I woke up this morning thinking about the new book I am writing in the Chesapeake series. Book one is about Mary Charles, a convicted felon who finds herself transported to the Maryland Colony as an indentured servant. I loved writing the book and then one thing led to another and so far I have written three books spanning over 100 years in the colony that eventually became a state.
The series embraces the women in one family, the servant, the Nanticoke wife and the abused spouse. Each of these womens hold to faith and continue with their lives until their dreams become reality.
Right now I am working on a fourth book, which takes place during and after the American Civil War. The heroine is blind and it is a real challenge for me to portray this wonderful woman from the first person perspective, which only allows me to report what Jewel knows.
Just wondering if I am on the right track -- comments welcome!